NEW YORK — For as well as the Union played in the five-game unbeaten streak that lifted them to fourth place in the Eastern Conference, there was still a nagging sense that it could all fall apart at the end of the season.
Well, it did.
Sunday brought another disastrous loss, this time a 3-1 defeat at New York City FC that sent the Union all the way down to sixth. Instead of getting a home playoff game for the first time in seven years, they'll be back in the Bronx on Wednesday (7 p.m., Fox Sports 1 and UniMás).
"We deserved what we got," manager Jim Curtin said.
New York (16-10-8, 56 points) got its first goal just eight minutes in, a Maxime Chanot header off a Maxi Moralez corner kick.
It was 2-0 barely two minutes later, thanks to an Auston Trusty own goal just as horrendous as the one he scored in the U.S. Open Cup final.
"We weren't good enough," Curtin said. "We just weren't intense enough. We talked in the pregame about the focus on this field — it has to be at a maximum, the intensity has to be at a maximum, there's no room for breaks, and we didn't pass that."
Cory Burke scored the only goal for the Union (15-14-5, 50 points) in the 14th. This was the Union's first loss in which Burke scored a goal. It was also their third loss in four all-time visits to Yankee Stadium.
While the Union's offense looked a little sharper after the goal, the defense remained a wreck. David Villa made it 3-1 in the 34th after the Union repeatedly failed to simply clear the ball out of their 18-yard box.
There was a flicker of hope in the 60th minute when the Union got a penalty kick after New York goalkeeper Sean Johnson took out C.J. Sapong. But Johnson saved Picault's low shot, and didn't have to try all that hard.